Image: Creative Commons

The Saved


It took a pandemic to clear our streets

And to empty our wide blue skies

I heard in the news that the fresher air

Will save a large number of lives


Saving the world from wild fires and floods

From loss of species, pollution and cars

Is a by-product of the spread of a tiny invisible

Thing travelling the globe and arresting us


Making us stop and breathe and think

That maybe the drastic solutions aren’t

So drastic at all. Just working from home

Or taking the bike, might guarantee


That our children will have a future

Worth living for, too. Forgoing flights,

Or even living like this for three months

Out of every year might be enough


To give us a chance, to pass on the world

In a better, more decent state. Our children learn words

That they shouldn’t know now. They learn fast

Like a sponge, and know more than we think


About social distancing, and danger, about death rates

And that Zoom always crashes, and nobody talks

Like they would face to face with their mates.

About adults being more vulnerable than they thought.


Let’s at least give them something to be grateful for

When this is over. The rainbows in windows are painted by them

To tell us, there’s hope. We just need to learn as well.

We need to carry the good change through, and build our world again.


Tamara von Werthern is an award-winning playwright based in Hackney.

You can read more about the success of her dystopian short film, I Don’t Want To Set The World On Firehere.

Her play The White Bike, and climate change book Letters to the Earth, featuring her contribution, are available at Pages of Hackney bookshop on Lower Clapton Road, which is currently closed but still selling book tokens.

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